Trainers hail Kempton after first consolation meeting staged
Last Updated: 15/03/14 5:54pm
Carole's Destrier on his way to victory at Kempton on Saturday
It was not quite like having a winner at the Festival but trainers Neil Mulholland and Jonjo O'Neill directed praise towards Kempton as Carole's Destrier and Lost Legend claimed the newly conceived Cheltenham consolation races.
It was not of huge importance to O'Neill that Lost Legend (9-1) qualified for the Kempton Park Betdaq Silver Bowl by virtue of missing the cut for the handicap chases last week as he saddled three winners during the meeting anyway.
Mulholland had long given up hope of Carole's Destrier sneaking into the handicap hurdles and hopes a narrow victory in the Kempton Park Betdaq Silver Plate will give his horse a better foothold for Cheltenham 2015.
The 14-1 chance had been successful in a heavy-ground maiden at Huntingdon in January before just qualifying for the Pertemps Final at Exeter but he made hard work of short-heading Marcilhac for the £35,000 prize.
"I had him in three handicaps but I knew he had no chance," said Mulholland.
"He was just a bit unexposed. But I'd trained him for this week, I knew I had him in great order and I know he'll get in next year."
Liam Treadwell was given a two-day ban (March 29-30) for use of the whip on the runner-up.
Lost Legend and Nearest The Pin could be spotted as the pair travelling the best in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase and it was Richie McLernon, deputising for a bruised and battered Tony McCoy, who found more after the last to triumph by three-quarters of a length.
"I think I had him in the Byrne Group Plate but he was never going to get in," said O'Neill before adding with a smile: "It was a plan I've had for two years."